Even trainers need to watch their speech. It’s so easy to pick up bad speech habits and unfortunately, we can develop them just like everyone else. There is a new bad speech habit that many professional speakers and trainers are now developing. It’s the use of what I believe is a new “filler phrase.”

The phrase I’m referring to is, “Does that make sense?”

As we all know, companies employ professional speakers, consultants, and trainers to educate their employees. I think that just about the last thing they want to hear from us is the phrase, “Does that make sense?”

“Does that make sense?” makes the speaker/trainer sound uncertain and unsure of him/her self. Even though it is meant to appear that the trainer is engaging the participants, it doesn’t engage them because as soon as it is uttered, the trainer typically continues speaking. When it’s just used once or twice, it’s no big deal. However, when it is used repeatedly it is ineffective and annoying!

Checking for and confirming understanding is useful and important in the learning process. As trainers, we can use a variety of ways to do this.

Here are a few reminders:

1. Use the open ended question. Say, “What questions do you have?” rather than “Does anyone have any questions?” the closed ended question.
2. Use repetition to drive a point home.
3. Say your main point in two or three different ways.
4. Give concrete examples of key points.
5. Ask your participants to give examples. “Who can give me an example of a situation similar to what we’ve just discussed?”

To check your understanding use:

1. “Let me be sure I understand. You said….”
2. “This is what I think you are saying…..”
3. “Is this what you are saying…..?
4. Paraphrasing.
5. Asking the participant to repeat what they’ve said.

Let’s remember that we are a teaching others by our own examples – good or bad.

Have you been videotaped lately while speaking or teaching a class? If not, I highly recommend that you get someone to video you. It’s only by seeing and hearing ourselves the way that others do, that we become aware of our own habits and patterns.

Does that make sense?

Author's Bio: 

Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. You can email Dana at:dana@speakforsuccess.com . Visit www.speakforsuccess.com
or Dana’s Blog: speakforsuccess.blogspot.com